Giovanni's Nidoking Raid Guide


From 2/26 until 3/11, Team Rocket is taking over gyms at Pokemon Centers across Japan!  During this event period, Giovanni’s Nidoking will be featured as a special tier 5 raid boss for trainers to challenge. This Nidoking is only unique in that it is a tier 5 rather than Tier 4 raid boss, and has no distinguishing characteristics upon capture. However, trainers who are able to best this beast will be awarded an exclusive event sticker, signifying their victory.

While this unusual event is based in Japan alone, any Japanese readers or readers traveling to Japan over the event period may benefit from the knowledge! Overall, this is a unique event and it will be interesting to see what Pokemon GO does with this in the future.

If you’d like an audio version of this information, check out this video.



Best Movesets

Quick Charge
Offense Poison Jab Sludge Wave
Defense Iron Tail Sludge Wave + Megahorn

Despite being Giovanni’s pick for taking over Japan, Nidoking isn’t that great of an attacker or defender, suffering from middling stats and an unfortunate typing. In the main series games, Nidoking was a jack of all offensive trades, but he misses his trademark massive movepool in GO. Poison and Ground are poor attacking types, lacking relevant type coverage or powerful moves, and Nidoking’s Atk stat is disappointing to boot.

As a defender, Nidoking isn’t topping the tier lists but isn’t terrible either. Its resistances to Fighting and Electric-type attacks throw off Machamp and Raikou, and its access to Mega Horn threatens frail Psychic-type attackers. However, Nidoking doesn’t do much to ward off Dragon-type generalists and is completely demolished by Water-types; too bad Giovanni’s Nidoking doesn’t have Ice Beam or Thunderbolt!

Nidoking previously operated in a niche on defense where it camouflaged gyms as being taken over by a raid boss when placed in the 6th slot, but since Nidoking has left the tier 4 raid rotation that utility has been lost. Since the Nidoking event raids are exclusive to Pokemon Centers in Japan, it’s doubtable the “raid boss camo” strat would fool anyone out there either. While it was just one weird trick to deter attack, it is just about all Nidoking really had to go for it.

Overall, there is no present or foreseeable future use for Nidoking in Pokemon GO. If you seek to challenge this tier 5 raid boss in Japan, the prize is exclusively in the sticker.

Helpful Breakpoints and Bulkpoints

It’s not mandatory to hit these points, but they are levels where your attackers will have a noticeable improvement in their performance. If you are unfamiliar with what a breakpoint is, we suggest checking out our guide on breakpoints. If you’re curious about the breakpoints of other Pokemon or fast moves, you can find them using our breakpoint tool.

Bulkpoints can be vital in raids in which the raid boss uses powerful single bar charge moves. A bulkpoint is the minimum level at which your Pokemon has enough defense and HP to survive a number of fast moves and 1 charge move. Since they are specific to both your defense and HP IV, if you have imperfect IV’s you will want to use our calculator. When you use our calculator, bulkpoints become self explanatory. If you want more details on bulkpoints, check out our guide.

Pokemon Breakpoint/Bulkpoint
Kyogre 38.5,33 - 25.5
Mewtwo Confusion 36.5, 33 - 24.5, 26.5, 29
Gyarados Waterfall 35.5, 29.5
Espeon Confusion 35.5 - 37.5
Alakazam Confusion 35.5 - 37.5
Groudon Mud Shot 26
Lugia Extrasensory 38

Countering Nidoking

The best counter to Nidoking is undoubtedly Kyogre, possessing Legendary level stats, STAB super effective damage, no weaknesses to Nidoking’s attacks, and a resistance to Nidoking’s strongest fast move, Iron Tail. Mewtwo is a strong second place, having massive DPS with STAB, super effective, Psychic-type attacks, but is more frail compared to the great whale. Gyarados stands out as a strong option, resisting Iron Tail, Earthquake, and Mega Horn, while Metagross covers Poison Jab and Sludge Wave movesets with its immunity tier resistance to Poison-type damage. These counters aside, Groudon, Vaporeon, Espeon, and Alakazam are great options. Salamence, Rayquaza, Dragonite, Swampert, Milotic, Feraligatr, and Omastar all make decent counters too. If your focus is to spare items rather than strive for extra premier balls, Lugia and Rhydon may be your best bets.

Overall, don’t stress too much about having the best counters to this fight. These raids are exclusive to Pokemon Centers in Japan; contenders should have no lack of allies.

Potential for the Future

While the exclusivity of this event is off-putting, it does open the door for similar events in the future. Up until this point, only Legendary Pokemon have been tier 5 raid bosses. While there isn’t much difference between tier 4 and 5, aside from time spent battling, if special in-game rewards, unique movesets, or real life stickers accompany them, it is certain to draw positive attention from the community.

Right now we have Giovanni’s Nidoking. How long until we have Lance’s Dragonite? Or Sabrina’s Future Sight Alakazam? Only time will tell.